FASHION chain M&Co’s stores in Braintree and Witham have been saved from closure, it has been announced.

The company said 47 of its shops will shut along with the loss of 380 jobs as part of a “major restructuring” in order to secure its long-term future following the coronavirus lockdown.

But the Braintree store, which is based in the Quadrant in Georges Yard, and the shop in Witham, in the Grove Shopping Centre, will remain open.

The high street chain said they are two of 218 stores and 2,200 jobs saved after completing the restructuring.

The retailer said it appointed administrators Deloitte in April as the Covid-19 outbreak had forced the closure of shops for almost four months.

It said it believed a reduced network of stores, focused on high streets, would strengthen its position.

Chief executive Andy McGeoch said: “It quickly became clear that best way to save most jobs and most stores was to enter administration, with a new company acquiring the assets of the old business, and this process has now been finalised.

“Covid has been by far the biggest challenge our family business has faced in almost 60 years, and I am really pleased that we have been able to maintain a presence in over 200 communities.

“Covid-19 means many people don’t feel comfortable travelling on public transport or visiting busy city centres and that can be good news for local high street stores like M&Co.

“That’s why we are looking at ways of working in partnership with other local retailers to highlight the tremendous range of shopping that can be found in communities like this all over the country.

“Local economies rely to a huge degree on their town centres and we have seen too many high streets hollowed out by successive shop closures.

“More and more people are beginning to realise that, if they don’t support their town centres, everyone’s quality of living really takes a hit, so we are proud to be playing a part in the drive to shop locally.

"The response from our customers during lockdown was phenomenal.

"It’s hugely encouraging to hear our customers say how much they have missed us after months away.”